North Tonawanda considers limiting how many dogs residents can have

Posted at 2:16 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-14 19:15:29-05

The City of North Tonawanda is considering placing a limit on the number of dogs that a person is allowed to care for.  While discussions are still preliminary, it is thought that residents should not have more than three dogs.

Dog Control Officer Christine Hutten said there could be exceptions, but her recommendation of only three dogs per person is based on surrounding communities that have the same restriction.  Hutten, who has previously worked with dog rescue organizations, worries that some people can get "over their heads" with too many dogs leading to problems for the person, animals and neighbors.

Currently, North Tonawanda has no limit on the number of dogs that a resident can have - but that is causing problems.

Assistant City Attorney Nicholas Robinson said there have been repeated complaints about some residents who have as many as eight dogs on their property.  "Residents are complaining about the number of dogs and what it is doing to their way of life," said Robinson.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly spoke to residents on Schenck Street who said the dog problem is so bad that they cannot take their own dogs out for fear they may be attacked by the large number of loose dogs.

"They don't have a care about what goes on in our neighborhood.  They let their dogs run loose.  My dog has been attacked six times in the last two years," said Mike Brown, who owns two dogs and believes some of the problem dogs are coming from outside visitors.

Others thought there should be no problem owning more than three dogs, as long as they are properly cared for.

Part of the city's concern involves the large number of unlicensed dogs that officials fear may not be properly immunized against rabies.  It is also a challenge to return loose dogs to their owners because many found animals don't wear a tag, explained Dog Control Officer Christine Hutten.

The North Tonawanda Common Council is now looking at the issue and collecting input about the proper number of dogs per person and how to enforce violations.

Ed Reilly has more in his report.